2017-2018 Medical School Application Timeline (for applicants planning to start medical school in fall 2018)
The medical school application process takes nearly a full year to complete. Therefore, excellent planning and organization are essentially, especially since most medical schools have rolling admissions. Rolling admissions means that the school does not wait until all of the applications are submitted to begin evaluating applications. Therefore applying later in the cycle could place you at a disadvantage in the application process. Many schools begin interviewing in September, and some offer acceptances as early as mid-October. As spots in the class fill up, it may be more difficult to gain admission.
To start, you need to know some basic information about how the medical school application process works.
There are three separate centralized application services for U.S. medical schools.
AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) – Used by most M.D. schools. https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/amcas/
TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service) – For public medical schools in Texas. http://www.tmdsas.com/medical/homepage.html
AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service) used by D.O. schools. http://www.aacom.org/become-a-doctor/applying
In addition to submitting a primary application through the applicable service, most medical schools require a secondary or supplemental application. The final step in the application is an interview.
To help you get started planning for the coming year, here is a timeline to follow for applicants who plan to enter medical school in fall 2018:
October- December 2016
- Become familiar with the application process. Good sources of information are the application service websites above and your prehealth advisor. Find out if your school offers a committee letter for recommendations, and the process for obtaining one.
- Gather information about medical schools. The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), available for purchase through the AAMC site is an excellent resource. The Osteopathic College Information Book can be downloaded online at the AACOM site.
- Continue to gain clinical and research experience throughout the next year.
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty and physicians individually or obtain a committee letter per your undergraduate institution’s protocol.
- Register for the MCAT at least two months prior to planned test date. Information regarding the MCAT can be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/46412/mcat/
- Begin studying for the MCAT several months before you plan to take the test.
- Prepare for and take the MCAT if you have not already taken the test or need to retake. Take the MCAT in the spring if possible, but no later than early summer in order to have scores submitted to the schools early in the cycle.
- Request copies of your transcripts and check to ensure that there are no errors on them.
- Begin working on primary applications. AACOMAS opens in mid-May. AMCAS application is available online in May for applicants to begin filling out, but cannot be submitted until early June.
- TMDSAS opens in early May.
- Take/retake the MCAT if needed.
- Complete supplemental (secondary) applications. Some will come within days of submitting the primary application, others will take months. Return these to the schools within one to two weeks of receiving.
September 2017 – spring 2018
- Continue submitting secondaries.
- Interview at medical schools.
- Some schools notify applicants of acceptances October 15. Notifications continue until the class is full.
- By April 30, applicants to AMCAS schools should only be holding a spot at one school. They may remain on waitlists for other schools.
- Update schools you are waitlisted at about new activities and accomplishments.
- Begin medical school!